Reluctantly Royal - Nichole Chase

Series: Royal (Book 3)

Maxwell Jameson Trevor, prince of Lilaria, hates his royal role. Despising the limelight, he takes solace in his art studio and steers clear of any drama. But when one of the newly discovered royals passes away, Maxwell's brother Alex asks him to break the news to the old man's granddaughter. Though he hates to be the bearer of doom and gloom, he doesn't want the poor girl to find out from the tabloids. For Maxwell knows all too well how devastating that could be.

 

Coming from a broken home and modest background, newly ordained Lady Meredith Thysmer has seized her chance to make a better life for herself and her son. She's not afraid to use her best assets to get what she wants. But when the unpretentious yet devastatingly handsome Max delivers his news, her plans for the future come crashing to a halt. In the challenging days ahead, Max's compassion, humor, and steadfast loyalty to Meredith and her son win her over. She quickly finds herself doing something she swore would never happen again: falling in love. And yet Maxwell still refuses to completely drop his guard. Somehow Meredith's got to find a way to seduce this reluctant royal.

 

Very good final book in the series. While this is just as good as the previous two books, this one is not as humorous and has some darker undertones. Meredith has made a life for herself and her son in London after her grandfather was discovered to be one of the lost dukes of Lilaria. She has the chance to pursue her dreams of being an entertainer. She is close to her grandfather who was more of a father to her than her own, who is an alcoholic. She's at a rehearsal when she receives a visit from Prince Max, who has come to break the news of her grandfather's passing. 

 

Max is often called the "slacker prince" because of the way he avoids public appearances. He is an artist and one who prefers peace and quiet over the limelight. When his brother asks him to break the news to Meredith, he agrees because he doesn't want her to find out the news from a reporter. He knows how devastating that can be, as that's the way he found out about his father's death when he was a teenager. 

 

I liked both Max and Meredith. Meredith is used to doing things on her own and is very independent because of it. She appreciates Max's offers of help, but her past has shown her that it's better not to depend on anyone else. Her mother left shortly after she was born, her father is an alcoholic who kicked her out when she got pregnant, and her son's father deserted her as soon as he found out about the baby. She tries to keep Max at a distance, but he won't listen. As the days go on, she ends up being more grateful than she expected for his assistance as she has to plan the funeral, take care of her son and deal with her father. She also discovers a growing attraction to Max, something she never expected to feel again. I loved watching Meredith open herself up a little more each day, accepting Max's presence in her life. After doing so much by herself, Max's determination to be there for her, and the way he involves the rest of his family, shows her an entirely different family life. But as she grows closer to Max, she also sees that her plans for her life in the spotlight is exactly the opposite of the life he prefers to lead. Now that she's losing her heart, is there any way she can have both her dream and the man she loves?

 

Max was pretty sweet. He hates the limelight and doing anything where he's the center of attention. He can handle anything to do with his art, but royal duties are to be avoided whenever possible. He agrees to his brother's request that he tell Meredith about her grandfather, but doesn't expect to find himself wanting to do more for her. It was pretty funny to see him volunteering to do things that would never occurred to him with another person. The more time he spent with Meredith and her son, the more he wanted to help. I also liked the protectiveness he felt for her as he saw what she had to deal with in her father. There were a couple times when he behaved out of character just because he wanted to protect her. I also loved the way he connected with Meredith's son Marty. It was fun to see the two of them together, and how Max's caring for Marty brought him closer to Meredith. Max had never expected to fall for someone, and to have it be someone so different freaks him out a bit. I loved watching him overcome some of his own fears to help her.

 

I loved the importance of family in the story. Meredith is determined to give her son the best life she can, in spite of the handicaps she is dealing with. Her issues with her father are real, and the things that go on with him are painful for her. I loved Max's protectiveness and support as she does so. I also adored her son Marty. He was a cute kid, not too good or too bad, but pretty normal. He's young, but he also can be sensitive to his mother's feelings. Some of the best things in the book come from the interactions among Max's family. I loved watching them give him a bit of a hard time because of his involvement with Meredith, but they were there to help him when he needed it because "family comes first."